COVID-19 Vaccine – Get Your COVID-19 Shot and a Booster Shot:
- Vaccines have saved more lives than any other public health action. They are the most powerful weapon we have against deadly infectious diseases. Follow the science.
- Safe and effective vaccines and boosters are now available for people age 6 months and older.
- Get your COVID-19 vaccine and booster when recommended. It could save your life and protect your family.
- Vaccine Sites: find a nearby vaccine site at vaccines.gov or call your doctor’s office.
COVID-19: How to Protect Yourself and Family from Catching It – The Basics
- Get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster when recommended. It is your best protection against this serious infection.
- Avoid close contact with people outside your family unit. Avoid closed spaces (indoors) when possible and all crowds (even outdoors).
- Always wear a mask when you leave your home and observe social (safe) distancing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water (very important). Always do before you eat.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if water is not available. Remember: soap and water work better.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless your hands are clean. Germs on the hands can get into your body this way.
- Don’t share glasses, plates or eating utensils.
- No longer shake hands. Greet others with a smile and a nod.
- If you or your child need to be seen for an urgent medical problem, do not hesitate to go in. ERs and urgent care sites are safe places. They are well equipped to protect you against the virus. For non-urgent conditions, talk to your doctor’s office first. Medical offices are also safe places.
Social (Safe) Distancing and COVID-19 Prevention
- Avoid any contact with people known to have COVID-19 infection. Avoid talking to or sitting close to them.
- Social Distancing: try to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from anyone who is sick, especially if they are coughing. Avoid crowds, because you can’t tell who might be sick.
- If COVID-19 is widespread in your community, try to stay 6 feet (2 meters) away from everyone outside your family unit.
- Stay at Home Orders: follow any stay at home (stay in place) orders in your community, if they occur. Leave your home only for essential needs such as buying food or seeking medical care.
- After Stay at Home Orders are Lifted: continue social distancing. Also wear a mask when entering any public building or outdoor crowded area. These precautions will be needed for many months. Your state public health department will decide when they are no longer needed.
Face Masks and COVID-19 Prevention
- Overview: face masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Reason: people with COVID-19 can have no symptoms, but still spread the virus. Masks also will reduce the spread of flu.
- Sick patients: should always wear a face mask if you are around other people or need to leave the home. Example: for medical visits. Exception: patients with trouble breathing in a mask (CDC). Consider a loose face covering, such as a bandana.
- Well people: although mask mandates have been lifted most places, you should still consider wearing a mask if:
- You are in indoor public spaces (such as a church or a grocery store).
- You are in a crowded outdoor setting (e.g., concert, music festival, rally).
- You are traveling on a plane, bus, train, or other form of public transit.
- You are in a transportation hub such as an airport or train station.
- You must be around someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Age Limits: face coverings also are not recommended for children under 2 years (CDC).
Keep Your Body Strong
- Get your body ready to fight the COVID-19 virus.
- Get enough sleep (very important).
- Keep your heart strong. Walk or exercise every day. Take the stairs. Caution: avoid physical exhaustion.
- Stay well-hydrated.
- Eat healthy meals. Avoid overeating to deal with your fears.
- Avoid the over-use of anti-fever medicines. Fever fights infections and ramps up your immune system.
Keep Your Mind Positive
- Live in the present, not the future. The future is where your needless worries live.
- Stay positive. Use a mantra to reduce your fears, such as “I am strong.”
- Get outdoors. Take daily walks. Go to a park if you live near one. Being in nature is good for your immune system.
- Show love. As long as they are well, hug your children and partner frequently. Speak to them in a kind and loving voice. Love strengthens your immune system.
- Stay in touch. Use regular phone calls and video chats to stay in touch with those you love.
How to Protect Others – When You or Your Child are Sick
- Stay home from work or school if you are sick. Your doctor or local health department will tell you when it is safe to return.
- Cover the cough. Cough and sneeze into your shirt sleeve or inner elbow. Don’t cough into your hand or the air.
- If available, sneeze into a tissue and throw it into a trash can.
- Wash hands often with soap and water. After coughing or sneezing are important times.
- Don’t share glasses, plates or eating utensils.
- Wear a face mask when around others.
- Always wear a face mask if you have to leave your home (such as going to a medical facility). Always call first to get approval and careful directions.
- Carefully avoid any contact with the elderly and people with weak immune systems or other chronic health problems.
Call Your Doctor If:
- You think you or your child needs to be seen
- You have other questions or concerns
Author: Barton Schmitt, MD, FAAP
Copyright: Copyright 2022. Updated 6/21/2022.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.